Education in Kenya

Kenya's population is 43 million people.  The unemployment rate is estimated to be 40% and the poverty rate is 50%. 1.5 million school aged kids in Kenya do not attend any school at all due to poverty. One of two Kenyan girls will never attend school. Nine in ten children from poor households will fail to complete 8th grade. Kenyan public education is rife with inadequate facilities, insufficient and often poorly trained teachers, overcrowded classrooms and poor results. One in three Kenyan 6th graders cannot read or write. In the Rift Valley (Gentle Bells' location) performance for public schools is below the national average.  A recent survey of public and private schools in Maii Mahiu near Longonot showed the average student teacher ratio to be 87:1. Nairobi has a population of 3 million, half of whom live in slum conditions.   The two largest slums in Nairobi are Kibera and Mathare Valley. In Kibera (KICOSHEP's location) there are no public schools and there are over 100,000 orphaned children. 43% of the girls and 29% of the boys attend no school at all.   In Mathare Valley (Mawewa's location) there are two public schools for 70,000 students. Karem School borders Mathare Valley and draws students from the slums. There are no government services or sanitation facilities. Because of the lack of basic needs and sanitation, and no policing in the slums, disease, malnutrition and crime are rampant. One of three in the slums has contracted AIDS. The average life span in the slums is 30 years old. Children who are not engaged in school through the 8th grade are quickly consumed by a culture of gangs, drugs and criminal activity for boys, and a world of rape, exploitation, prostitution resulting in early, unwanted pregnancy for girls. Every year about 13000 Kenyan girls leave school permanently due to  pregnancy. Despite these tragic statistics, for Kenya's children, education is their only hope of escape from poverty.